Friday, August 18, 2017

The Monsanto/University of Minnesota Multifunctional Agriculture Initiative is seeking candidates for graduate student fellows supported by Monsanto Company.  Monsanto will fund four Graduate Research Assistantships, each for a period of three years, in the research priority areas listed below.  We are seeking fellowship applicants for placement at the University of Minnesota in Horticulture Sciences (, Agronomy and Plant Genetics (, Entomology (, Plant Pathology ( , Soil, Water and Climate ( and Plant and Microbial Biology ( If interested, please contact faculty in these areas to express your interest in the program. Faculty will work with prospective graduate students to develop the nomination package including designing research projects to address the priority areas, and also discuss funding available to complete any research projects/degree programs remaining after the three-year fellowship. 

Final application materials should be sent to Donald Wyse at and include the research proposal developed in collaboration with a faculty member (see format below), a two-page nomination letter for the  graduate student who would conduct the research, as well as two letters of reference, transcripts, and the student’s application statement that should include a description of the students interest in their specific research area and interest in developing a career in industry. The deadline for submission is Wednesday January 31, 2018.  Project proposals and student nominations will be reviewed, and selections will be made by the Multifunctional Agriculture Initiative Executive Committee, made up of University of Minnesota Faculty and Monsanto Sponsors.   The results of the review will be sent to everyone that submitted a research proposal and graduate student nomination by March 1, 2018 or earlier.

Research Priorities for the Monsanto/University of Minnesota Fellows Entering Fall Semester 2018:

  • Develop systems (including multiple herbicide MOAs and cultural practices) for controlling herbicide resistant weeds
  • Develop integrated systems for controlling corn rootworms (CRW) or lepidopteran pests that include traits, insecticides and cultural practices
  • Develop biologicals (microbials, microbial and plant extracts) for pest control and/or plant health
  • Evaluate use of fungicides (seed treatment and/or foliar) in corn and soybean to enhance yield potential
  • Develop cover systems for corn and soybean with a focus on:
    • Cover crop establishment
    • Cover crop termination
    • Nutrient capture and transfer
    • Cover crop germplasm development
    • The economics of cover cropping and how to make cover crops cost-effective
    • Enhancing crop yield with cover crops
  • Precision agriculture applications
    • Enhancing crop yields with site specific agricultural systems (germplasm selection, crop densities, fertility etc.)
    • Site specific pest management (weeds, insects, disease)
  • Evaluate how to communicate the benefits of modern (technology based) agriculture
    • Explore methods of communication to the consuming public to facilitate a better understanding of the value of high-productivity agriculture
  • The program also encourages the submission of proposals that deal with other important disease, insect, and weed problems, as well as other issues important to the enhancement of the yield potential of corn and soybean.

Proposal Format:
Cover Page (1 page)
To include the following:

- Proposal title
- Principal Investigator and home department, email address, and phone number
- Name of Student Nominee
- Abstract: (250 word max) summary of the project's goals and objectives; approach and methodology; and anticipated outcomes.

Proposal Narrative (3 page max)

- Rationale
Provide background and need for the proposed work. Explain why the research you are proposing is important and timely.

- Goals and Objectives
Present measurable objectives for research.

- Approach and Methodology
  Describe the approach, scientific methodology, experimental design, and data to be collected (or secondary data that will be analyzed). Explain how these methods
  are appropriate for the research project.

- Deliverables
  Describe the near-term results or products you expect from the proposed research. Results and/or products should be specific, clear, and measurable.

- Other Funds: Describe source of other funds that will be available to support the proposed research.